Branded Searches: Context Advertising and/or Organic Pull?
Many famous brands will launch ad campaigns that are only for products or service categories. They will count*consider that it’s not worth it to spend money on clicks for branded queries from PPC advertising.
A Few Theories
A brand query is a phrase that contains the name of the company in various variations: in different scripts, together and/or separately (if the name consists of two or more words).
Brand queries show the recognition of the company and the interest of the audience in it. But do they need advertising if the company occupies top positions by name in the organic search engine results? Opponents of brand promotion justify their position by the fact that paid advertising simply eats up a budget, and instead of free transitions to their site, the advertiser gets paid ones.
But brand queries can be*beneficial, it’s enough to figure out how they work and set up properly PPC advertising.
Features of brand promotion
The main featuers of a branded advertising campaign:
- The first rule is that your company must be known, and when entering its name in the search box people should be looking for you. Otherwise, most of the visitors will be non-targeted.
- It is important to keep track of reality. If the name of your brand is consonant with the titles of new movies, video games, names of movie characters, etc., then you need to add negative keywords in a timely manner.
- It is useful to track the actions of competitors. If they start using your brand name in their ads, you have two options: push them out of the top paid search results with your ads, or file a complaint with the advertising system about the use of your name. But in this case, you must be the owner of the registered trademark. Yes, and your name must be used exactly in the form in which it is registered.
With competitors, you should always be on the lookout, because the use of someone else’s brand for your advertising is often found even among international companies.
Branded Traffic by the Numbers
So, branded queries will take away some of the organic clicks. But at the same time, they will also give you more traffic. How much will go into the minus, and how much into the plus will depend on various factors. Fortunately, you can turn to the results of research that will tell you what to expect.
In 2014, Bing conducted a large-scale study that used 3 million search results.
The main conclusion that was found was that 31% of additional clicks are received by a company that launched advertising on branded queries. At the same time, only 11% of clicks were “stolen” from their own organic search results.
Features and benefits of branded traffic
In addition to quantitative indicators of the effectiveness of brand advertising, there are also qualitative ones:
- High CTR due to a loyal audience. Here we have an almost 100% hit: the user is looking for you and then finds you.
- Growth in media traffic. Display campaigns customized for branded queries will help increase awareness. Their cost is much lower than the search network, but the CTR will also be lower here.
- Low bids. Clicks on such ads will be inexpensive, due to low competition for branded queries, and in Google Ads also a high-quality score and relevance. The cost-effectiveness of this ad will justify some of the clicks taken away from organic search results.
- The ability to be shown on queries with a typo or error. If 10-20% of your audience spells the name of your company wrong, and the pages of your site are not tailored for this option, then you will be out of sight to those customers. If there is such a possibility (to do this, you need to analyze requests), then it makes sense to include a request with an error in an advertising campaign.
But we shouldn’t forget about so-called traffic cannibalization. It can be both negative and positive.
Note the three main types of cannibalization:
- Destructive: Paid traffic brought in fewer clicks than organic traffic.
2. Constructive: paid traffic took less from organics than it brought in visitors.
Amplification. Context increased the number of organic click-throughs.
The two main strategies: defense and attack
The purpose of the protection strategy is to push competitors out of the top of the advertising ranks.
The first four search results (and this is more than 60% of the screen) are occupied by ads, pushing down the positions of organic search results to the second screen and below, even with perfect site optimization. This applies to PC views. In the mobile version, the one who comes first in advertising always wins. In this case, brand queries become a lifesaver and make you the most visible to the audience.
How to work within the framework of the strategy:
- Use selling queries: combinations of the company name and the product that the buyer is interested in, or the selling word (discounts, promotions, sale …);
- In the text of the ad, indicate that this is the official site. Be honest and increase your audience’s trust.
- Use the maximum number of characters and extensions allowed to take up as much screen space as possible.
- And most importantly, consider your reputation and before launching an ad, check that the landing page is as relevant as possible to the one indicated in the ad.
As for the attacking strategy, the main goal here is to take the first positions before competitors do, thereby increasing the number of clicks on branded queries. The ideal option is to take an ad block and one of the positions on the first page of organic search. At the same time, the lower the organic issuance*vydacha within the first page, the more clicks the brand context will bring.
This conclusion is confirmed by a study conducted in 2011 by Google and based on 390 cases. Half of the clicks from ads come additionally when the company is in the first position in the search, 82% of clicks are added by brand advertising when the company is in positions 2–4, and 96% when the company is in the fifth position and below.
In favor of the attacking strategy, the results of a study by the company Bunnyfoot also tell us that 36% of users do not distinguish between advertising and organic search results. The same source claims that 27% of netizens are unaware that Google has ads at all. The study was conducted in 2014. It may have changed in four years, but not by much.
Strategies have only a conditional distinction and can be combined within one advertising campaign.
After launching the brand context, it’s essential to track the results:
- calculate how much PPC advertising took and what total brand traffic we received
- compare conversion rates according to brand search and context
- follow the behavior map to see what traffic leads to a purchase. This will allow an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of the context
- track the growth of brand queries: how their number is growing, with what additional words they are looking for a company.
If your site is not yet on the first page of the search (for example, due to its recent launch or rebranding), but the company name is already well known, it’s also advisable to run branded advertising. This is confirmed by the already mentioned study from Google.
If there are no mentions of the brand on the first page yet, then branded advertising can bring 81% of views and 66% of clicks to the site.
How do you work with branded traffic?
The main conclusion to be drawn is that by abandoning the context for brand queries, you leave the first page of results to competitors, which means giving your customers to them.
When faced with the choice of whether to launch a brand context or not, rely on real research results, and not just on someone else’s recommendations or your own conjectures.
Before launching branded ads, make sure your brand is recognizable and ready to be advertised.
If there is no such thing yet, you should first devote time to PR. For convenient tracking and coming to the right conclusions, it’s worth it to launch a separate advertising campaign for branded queries.
If you do not want to deal with the intricacies of advertising cabinets and settings, then consider delegating the work to certified professionals like the Internet marketing agency Web-Sci.
The article used data from research:
- Brand Term Bidding: An offensive + defensive strategy
- A lot of people really don’t know that Google contains advertisements
- Impact of Organic Ranking on Ad Click Incrementality